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Best fitness gadgets and tech to get you into shape

This is the era of the wearable device. The industry is rapidly growing. Giants like Sony and Intel are leading the way and lesser-known companies like Withings and Basis are in hot pursuit. There are dozens of fitness devices on the market. Most are designed to be worn directly around your wrist or neck. Others easily clip to your pocket or jacket zipper.

The devices on this list will give data on your daily steps, calories burned, and — to varying degrees — sleep patterns. Every device on this list will connect with both Android and OS. Some are even capable of charting swimming and cycling. Others can track your heart rate in real time, elevation gain, and travel distance among other statistics.

Here are our top picks for the best fitness gadgets so you can keep track of all those calories you burn  — or don’t — on your daily commute around town or jog through the park.

Related: Best fitness apps for the iPhone, best fitness apps for Android

The Best:

Garmin VivoSmart ($170)

vivosmart header
The Garmin Vivosmart Activity Tracker merges activity tracking tools with a long battery life. “Smart Notifications” will display notifications of incoming calls, texts, and emails. It’s a feature that rivals the smartwatches from Apple and LG. Garmin’s premium tracker also records sleep time and a number of activities including swimming (not in saltwater, unfortunately). The understated OLED screen will display plenty of data on the face of the bracelet including time, day of the week, date, and common activity tracker metrics like steps taken, distance traveled, calories burned, and steps needed to reach the goal. When paired with optional heart and bicycle sensors, the Vívosmart can also log heart rate and bike speed. And those who own one of Garmin’s VIRB action cameras can use the Vívosmart as a remote control to start and stop recording, or snap a still shot.

Related: Review of Vivosmart

Despite all those nifty features, the VivoSmart has the heart and soul of an activity tracker. In seconds, the vivosmart will pair with your phone, or with heart and bicycle sensors and log your info on Garmin Connect. It’ll allow you to set goals and even compete with friends to earn virtual badges. Also included is the move bar alert that will vibe every time you go an hour without walking.

Available at: Amazon Best Buy BuyDig

The Rest

Withings Activité Pop ($150)

Withings Activite Pop

Withings’ gorgeous Activité smartwatch blew us away with its accurate activity and sleep tracking, but its $450 price was a problem. Now the company has another attractive, waterproof, fitness-tracking watch called the Pop for just $150. It uses less high-end materials and a silicon strap, but it accurately tracks your steps, calories burned, distance, and sleep. The Pop can tell when you’re running or swimming.
Related: Withings Activité review

Available at: Best Buy

Garmin Fenix 2 ($400)

Garmin’s Fenix 2 may be pricey, but it sure is an incredible fitness tracker. It’s a smartwatch for serious athletes who want to track all kinds of activities, from skiing and snowboarding, to running and swimming. The Fenix 2 is rugged and waterproof, giving it a sporty look, but it’s also very smart. The watch can send you notifications for emails, texts, calls, and more. Additionally, it tracks sleep and GPS location with impressive accuracy.
Related: Garmin Fenix 2 review

Available at: Amazon

Misfit Shine ($100)

Misfit’s Shine moonlights as a desirable piece of high-tech jewelry. However, fitness-nuts will probably find this device to be a little underwhelming. Available in several different wearable options including a necklace and clip-on, this fitness tracker pairs with an app to record steps, calories burned, in addition to allowing users to check their daily goals by the display of LED lights around the circumference of the device. The Shine comes in a new, crystal style from Swarovski, if you want something more stylish. The violet version actually charges with solar power.
Related: Misfit Shine review

Available at: Amazon

Withings Pulse 02 ($100)


The Withings’ Pulse 02 includes the comprehensive and well-designed app Health Mate (free). It’ll record steps in addition to gathering heart rate and oxygen intake to provide more in-depth data than most. The Pulse O2’s data-centric approach will log sleep patterns and to report back on biking and swimming. When paired with the Bluetooth blood pressure-monitoring cuff, the Pulse O2 is one of the most robust health-tracking systems for the price. It can also connect with many other Withings products in the Healthmate app.
Related: Withing’s Pulse O2 Review

Available at: Amazon

Runtastic Orbit ($90)

Runtastic Orbit

At first, the Orbit seems like every other activity tracker out there. But when you consider the integration of the large runtastic ecosystem of apps available for iOS and Android, Runtastic’s wearable gets a lot more attractive. If you already use Runtastic apps, the Orbit has plenty of potential to be a lot more. And Runtastic is branching out from running, including a new app designed for tracking pushups.
Related: Review of Runtastic Orbit

Available at: Amazon

Fitbit One ($100)

Fitbit One header
Fitbit’s tried and true option for basic biometric data. The device has a two-week battery life and can easily pair with Android and iOS devices to sync graphs, charts, and other monitoring tools that chart your calories burned, steps, and sleeping patterns. Plus, those with NFC-enabled Android devices merely need to tap their device together to launch the statistics. However, you may be more interested in Fitbit’s new bands.
Related: Fitbit One review

Available at: Amazon

Sony SmartBand SWR10 ($100)

Sony SmartBand and Core

For those committed to Android will enjoy Sony’s Smartband that can assemble a picture of how you spend your day, including how much time you spend on your computer or phone. It’ll also pair with your Android phone and display email and text notifications. But Sony’s device is pretty basic when it comes to actual fitness– it’ll only measure steps (walking and running), calories burned, and how much time you spend in light and deep sleep.
Related: Review of Sony Smartband with Core

Available at: Amazon

Fitbit Charge ($130)

Fitbit Charge Front

Seven day battery life means the Charge will be there to track all your activities in real time. Steps, minutes active, calories burned, and distance traveled can all be recorded. You can even enter your meals and it’ll track the amount of calories consumed. Sleep tracking feature will log your light and deep sleep and a caller ID will display incoming phone calls on the band’s display. The Charge also features an updated clasp designed to stay on your wrist when you decide to do cartwheels. A version with a heart rate monitor is also forth-coming.
Related: Fitbit Charge Review

Available at: Amazon

Basis Peak ($200)

Basis peak header
Want a screen? Want to device that can tell when you switch from walk to run or begin to fall asleep? The Basis Peak is great for when your activity doesn’t involve steps (think gym or cycling) thanks to its super sensitive heart-rate sensor that’ll distinguish between sleeping, walking, running, and cycling. And it does it without one of those heart rate monitors you strap around your chest. The sleep tracker even logs your REM cycles. You can also download software to make the Peak read your phone notifications.
Related: Basis Peak gets smarter

Available at: Amazon

Misfit Flash ($50)

There may be better fitness trackers out there, but not at this price. The Misfit Flash for is a decent, entry-level fitness tracker that can track steps, sleep, and even has a feature for swimming. Waterproof up to 90 feet, the Flash pairs with the Misfit App that’ll allow you to set goals for daily steps and will display your progress on the minimal LED interface. And the replaceable LED battery will last nearly six months. If you don’t want to spend $50, keep you eye out, the flash has been known to go on sale for $25.
Related: Misfit debuts $50 Flash tracker

Available at: Amazon

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